With 103 journalists killed in the year 2011, Pakistan was ranked as the fourth dangerous place to work in the field of journalism by Vienna-based press watchdog, IPI. And as the general perception puts journalists and bloggers in the same category, the online news disseminators are equally at risk.
However, a recent research shows that not many internet users are concerned about digital security. The findings of the study reveal that around only 18% of the respondents consider security as an important online feature with majority giving more importance to the ability to customise over security.
Conducted by Pakistan-based ICT organisation Bytes for All (B4A), the study aims to highlight the awareness and practice of digital security strategies by the media community in Pakistan. Around 37 journalists and 15 bloggers from across the country were interviewed for this research.
The findings show that a majority of the respondents were unaware of the online security risks they face such as email interceptions and data theft. It also stated that the respondents were ignorant of the widely available strategies and tools that could protect them in the digital space, including using secure email services, encrypting their data, or utilising IP blocking services that help hide sensitive online activities.
The B4A study explains that most of the users avoid using security tools because of perceived cost and complexity. It also highlights the need of stronger understanding on the part of journalists and bloggers of privacy laws in the country and their right to information, as well as their constitutional rights to freedom of information, speech and expression.
The study, conclusively, suggests educating media personnel about the high-risk areas and tools to reduce vulnerability.
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